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October 26, 2012

Bruce Bochy

Ryan Vogelsong


Q.  Bruce, you all faced Sanchez earlier this year and last year, and he had a shutout last season.  What have you seen from him?  He's a little bit different build than some of the other Detroit stars, not as tall as so forth?
BRUCE BOCHY:  He's been tough on us.  He's got good stuff, he's got a good fastball and secondary pitches.  He'll throw any pitch at any time.  He throws quality strikes, and like I said, we've had our tough times against him.  He's a good pitcher.  He's a really good pitcher, and like most teams have when they're playing in postseason.  We know we have our work cut out when we're facing him because he's been hard on us.

Q.  As a lifelong National League guy, is it meaningful to you that the National League is going for its third straight World Series title?  And do you think these players have this kind of league pride that you probably did back in your playing days?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Well, sure.¬† I think when you represent the National League, you want to do well.¬† You want to make the League proud.¬† But also if you're a National League fan, you're going to do all you can to win.¬† In fact, at the All‑Star Game I mentioned that last year, or two years ago.¬† It's about pride, too, and you go out there and always do the best that you can, but always being in the National League, I've always been a National League fan, sure.¬† It's nice to see us start to balance things out, because the American League had their way against us for quite a while.

Q.  Who do you plan on using in that designated hitter role?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Right now I'd say Hector Sanchez.¬† That's the way I'm leaning.¬† I could change my mind tonight, but to be honest, that's how I'm thinking right now.¬† He's a switch‑hitter, and he's had a pretty good year with the bat when he's been out there.¬† He's my DH right now.

Q.  Ryan, the cold, I know we probably make a much bigger deal about it than you guys do, but what challenges does it pose to you in particular, whatever it may be?  And also, the redemption factor, it seems to be a theme with the starting rotation.  Everybody has got a story, and so far everyone has been thriving in the last series or two.
RYAN VOGELSONG:  Well, the cold weather, obviously it's going we're going to have to deal with.  But it's the World Series.  You can't be worried about how cold it is.  I threw a game in Chicago last year where it was 34 degrees, and it was raining and sleeting, and I threw the ball pretty well that night.  I don't suspect that cold weather is going to be much of an issue.  If I am thinking about how cold it is, it means I'm not thinking about what I'm doing on the mound.
We've gone through spurts this whole season where we've thrown the ball like this as a staff.  We obviously had our downtime there in the middle of September and at the end of August, and we're just all kind of hitting our stride here at the same time.  It's up to me and Matt now to keep it going over here in Detroit.

Q.  Bruce, as somebody who knows and understands the journey that Ryan has taken to get to this point, and the adversity he's faced along the way, what's it been like to watch him respond in the postseason pressure like this?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Well, I've said so many times about Ryan is how impressive his perseverance has been through everything.¬† But also the way he's handled a lot of things thrown at him, making the All‑Star team, and being a guy that we were hoping would step up.¬† As all players, pitchers have their hiccups, he did in September, but he came out of that and he's throwing the ball well.
We had a much‑needed win, and he came through for us and got a couple big games, really three huge games in the postseason.¬† So it feels great when you think about Ryan and his story, and how much he did have to persevere, to see what he's doing now, you feel great and good for that guy because of all he's gone through, and all the work he's gone through to get to this point.

Q.  Ryan, I know this time of year there's not much time for reflection, but just piggybacking off his question, have you allowed yourself to think about the magnitude of starting the World Series, and what that means to you considering all that you've been through throughout your career?
RYAN VOGELSONG:¬† You're right, it's not really time to think about that too much.¬† You know, you realize‑‑ obviously you realize you're in the World Series, and tomorrow is a big game, just like all of them are in the postseason.¬† But when this thing is all over with, I'll take some time to really let it hit home.¬† Right now I'm just worried about going out and having a solid effort tomorrow, and giving us a chance to win the game.

Q.  You mentioned several times part of the reason you wanted to come here was to work with coaches who knew you.  We all know Dave Righetti gets a lot of praise.  Could you talk about how Mark Gardner and how those two guys work together?
RYAN VOGELSONG:  Well, you know, Gardy and I were teammates.  That was how I met Gardy the first time.  I was just a young pup then, and Gardy was one of our starters.  He really actually took me under his wing right away.  He was one of the guys that I bounced questions off a lot, not just about pitching but making sure I was in the right place at the right time in Spring Training, and going through the drills and everything, and he was always a guy that was there to talk to.
But I think they balance each other well.¬† Gardy, he'll get into a lot of mechanical stuff with you, and sometimes Rags is more of the mental side.¬† He does some mechanical stuff, as well, but Rags is more of‑‑ he's been through everything in this game you can do as a pitcher; he's closed, he's started, middle relief.¬† There's nothing that us as a staff are going to encounter that this guy hasn't done in a game.¬† That goes for Gardy, as well.¬† He did relief and starting.
They balance each other out well.  You know, I think they bounce things off each other all the time, and come up with what they think is the best solution if there's a problem going on.  I know I go to both of them because I want to try and get as much information as possible.
They do a tremendous job with our staff.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, I think Ryan covered it very well.  They do complement each other so well, and like he said, they've done everything, so they can help out.  But really, I have two pitching coaches.  Dave Righetti is the pitching coach, but Mark, it's another pair of eyes.  And he knows mechanics very well, so he helps out Dave, and just gives us more coverage there, and a guy that has tremendous knowledge about pitching.  So it's nice to have two guys to help out.

Q.¬† Maybe along the same lines, how would you describe the balance of responsibility between Bam‑Bam and Joe on the hitting side, and how has that worked out?¬† I would think that the second‑half surge you guys have enjoyed offensively is really‑‑
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, it's really worked out very well.  They really get along, have the same philosophy and work so well together, and they will get the work done through each other and they communicate so well together, whether it's in the cage or on the field, looking at video.  They've known each other, so there's some history with these two guys.
It can always cause some friction sometimes when you have two heads talking about the same thing, whether it's pitching or hitting, but just like Mark and Rags, these two really get along well, and have helped each other to make these guys better hitters.

Q.  Can you talk about the team's defense, because obviously there's been some great defensive plays in the first two games.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I believe it's such a critical part of the game.  If you're not good on that facet of the game, you're probably in trouble.  And when pitching is your strength, you want to have a pretty good defense out there and catch the ball.  That's kind of been our philosophy the last two years; let's get better defensively and try to get more athletic, and these guys have done a great job.  They work hard at it.  And we have a lot of speed in the outfield.  In the infield we have some young players, but they're good defenders.  And of course the veteran presence of Scutaro, and Pablo has made himself into a pretty good third baseman.  The guy we have behind the plate has done really a tremendous job since he's come up in 2010, as young as he is.
It's a major part of the game.  I've said this so many times, a player can have a great game, and despite not getting a hit, can go out there and help win a ballgame.  We have players that have that ability, like a Blanco goes out there and makes a couple great catches for us.

Q.  Bruce, you mentioned Marco, just talk about what kind of a zone he's in.  Obviously the bunt last night by Gregor, Marco has been talked about as being the king of bunting on the team, and how big of an influence he's been in regard to that.  Talk about how big of a factor he's been since acquiring him, and how he's been the MVP.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I'd hate to think where we'd be without him.  He'd been that good, that consistent.  We knew we were getting a good player, but a player that's been in the zone the way he has, I'll be honest, we didn't quite see that coming.  That's how great he's been.  We didn't underrate him, because we really wanted him, but he really turned his game up from the day we got him.  I asked him to play third base; it had been two, three years since he had done that.
But at the plate it's been fun to watch this guy, how he uses the whole field, he's got a short stroke, he's disciplined, and that type of approach does make the other hitters better hitters, more disciplined hitters.  I think they do feed off him.  He's very much respected on the club, very popular in the clubhouse.
So he's made us a different club, really impacted us on both sides, defense and offense.

Q.¬† Jim Leyland was saying that he's anxious to have his team face a non‑left‑hander, not that he's happier about it but at least happy in the sense he thinks he matches up better against a righty.¬† Does it impact your approach to the game knowing the other side thinks they match up better to you than the first two starters?
RYAN VOGELSONG:¬† No, because I think every game comes down to executing pitches, whether you're right‑handed or left‑handed.¬† You've got to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate, you've got to keep the ball down, and you've got to execute pitches.¬† When there's traffic on base you've got to make a good pitch to get out of it.¬† I mean, it's not really much else to say other than that.
Just got to go out and try and hit the glove as many times as I can, and if they hit the ball, hopefully it goes at somebody, and hopefully I'll come out on the right side of things.

Q.  Bruce, two games into the World Series, how would you describe the demeanor of your team?  And how does it compare with two years ago?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Well, they're going about their business as usual.¬† There's no change in them, and there won't be.¬† It wouldn't matter if they were down 0‑2 or 2‑0.¬† They go out there and they hard for that game.¬† We talked about this yesterday.
But as far as comparing them to 2010, I think you look at some things that were similar.  The heart that the 2010 played with, that 2010 probably had a little bit more power than this club.  We're probably a little more athletic and a little faster, and we have to manufacture runs a little bit more this year than in 2010, where we had a Ross or Burrell or Uribe pop one.  We don't quite have that power, but similar clubs because there's still a lot of players here from that club, but as far as the makeup and the chemistry of the ballclub.

Q.¬† You mentioned actually a couple days ago that you thought Scutaro was one of the better lead‑off hitters in the league for a while.¬† Having him hit second, do you think he's better suited to hit second in a situation like in Game 7 against the Cardinals?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† I like him better in the second hole, to be honest.¬† I do.¬† I think he's got the ability to maneuver the ball very well, which helps if you want to hit‑and‑run or bunt.¬† Pagan, he's got the great speed, so it just helps us, I think, put a little bit more pressure on the other club if we get Pagan on.¬† Now you've got Scutaro who can do some things with the bat.

Q.  This is for Ryan:  Do you feel like you still kind of pitch with a chip on your shoulder, trying to prove people wrong or trying to prove to people that what you've done is sustainable?  Is that something that pushes you forward especially in starts like these?
RYAN VOGELSONG:  Not just start days, every day.  I feel like every day I come in here with a little chip on my shoulder that I need to work harder than the next guy, and try and get myself better on a daily basis.  And definitely game day, there's a chip there.  I feel like I still have a lot to prove in this game.
Obviously I've had a solid year last year, solid year this year, and there's lots of guys in this game that have put together two good years.  It's doing it for a long period of time that separates the men from the boys.  I've still got a lot to do.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I'll just add, I think when you have gone through what Ryan has had to go through in his career, injuries, being sent down or pitching in Japan, he has a deeper appreciation for what you have here, and also how hard it is to not just get here but stay here.  Again, I think that's why he's so relentless with his work ethic, because he's been on the other side, and he doesn't take this for granted.  He had a great year last year, but I think he did have a chip on his shoulder.  He wanted to prove that that was not a fluke, and he's gone out and done it this year.

Q.  Just talk about actually having the lead in the series for a change.  Obviously coming back the first two rounds like you did, and what did that show about your club the way you guys came back the first two rounds?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, it's great to have a lead.  I'd much prefer having a lead than the other way.  I think any club would say that.  But again, that's a number.  We're up two, but that's all that is.  You go out there and you keep trying to win ballgames until it's over.  That's how we look at it, and that's the only way to look at it.  These guys have done a great job of that, even as you saw, when they've been down, and they've had to win three in a row twice to get here.
But it's nice to play well at home.  It's nice to have a lead, but that's all it is right now.
RYAN VOGELSONG:¬† We're definitely not taking this 2‑0 for granted.¬† We want to come here and play the type of baseball that we've been playing over the last six days, and try and win as soon as possible.¬† They're a dangerous team over there, we know that.¬† Every guy in that locker room knows that.¬† We've just got to keep playing the way we've been over the last six, keep playing our brand of baseball.

Q.  I believe the Tigers have won their last eight games here.  This isn't a bandbox ballpark by any stretch.  What have you picked up on why have they been so successful and tough to beat at home?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think a lot of teams, your really good teams, they dominate at home.  That's what they do, the Cardinals, the Reds, they were really tough at home.  We ended up having a pretty good home record, despite having some struggles there in September or late August.  But it's a team that feeds on probably their home crowd, and they're more comfortable at home, and that's usually the case in baseball.  But this certainly is a club that we know is playing very well here.

Q.¬† Your club seems so loose.¬† Having ten foreign‑born players, a lot of Latin players that are really loose, how different is this clubhouse atmosphere from others in your past?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, to be honest, if you go back to 2010 when we won, we had a lot of Latin players on that club, too.  But we're a diverse group, and we've been like that for as long as I've been here.  It's a good group, and they get along well, and they have fun with each other, making fun of each other.  It is a loose group, and it probably started back in 2010 when we dropped the Misfits on them or Dirty Dozen, and we still have a few of those left.  And then you bring in new guys, and they have their own sense of humor, how they are.
That's the only way to play the game, loose and relaxed.  I've been fortunate to have guys in there to help relax guys, and they're leaders in that clubhouse at keeping guys comfortable when we acquire them, and guys have fun playing.  That's how we try to keep it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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